Triglycerides (clinical analyzes)

Content

Introduction

Introduction

Triglycerides are the simplest fats (lipids) found in the human body. Most of the triglycerides present in the blood are introduced with food and only a minimal part is produced by the liver; triglycerides are transported in the blood by lipoproteins (mainly chylomicrons and VLDL - very low density lipoprotein).

Triglycerides accumulate in adipose tissue, where they are stored as fat and represent the main energy reserve for the body and a protective barrier against heat dispersion at low temperatures (Video).

Excess blood triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia) significantly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular, liver and pancreatic diseases. Particularly vulnerable are people who already have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

When to get tested for triglyceridemia

Adults

In healthy adults it is recommended to undergo a lipid analysis, including total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, also triglycerides, every 5 years to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease. People who already have high risk factors will have to perform the examination more frequently, according to the instructions provided by the attending physician.

In general, high levels of triglycerides in the blood (hypertriglyceridemia) are also associated with high amounts of total and LDL cholesterol (read the Hoax). This depends on the concomitant presence of some risk factors or wrong lifestyles such as, for example:

  • overweight / obesity
  • sedentary lifestyle / reduced physical activity
  • improper diet and eating habits
  • diabetes mellitus
  • alcohol abuse
  • kidney disease

The simple correction of these factors allows, in most cases, to bring the level of triglycerides back to normal values ​​(Video). A healthy lifestyle and physical activity carried out regularly and daily are therefore effective both in preventing and treating this risk condition.

For diabetics it is particularly important to regularly measure the level of triglycerides in the blood (triglyceridemia) since it is associated with a significant increase in the level of glucose in the blood (read the Hoax).

Boys

The analysis of lipids (total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglyceridemia), is also recommended in children and young people; in particular, it should be performed for the first time before the age of 20. It is the treating doctor who suggests to perform the determination of the lipids in children and adolescents when there are family members affected by cardiovascular disease at a young age (below 55 years).

The examination of triglyceridemia

The examination of triglyceridemia

The examination of triglyceridemia is requested by the doctor at regular intervals to evaluate the result obtained by changing the lifestyle (healthy diet and regular exercise) or to determine the effectiveness of a drug therapy, such as fibrates, statins, derivatives nicotinic acid, omega-3 acids.

The test is generally carried out together with that of total cholesterol, LDL and HDL, precisely to assess cardiovascular risk. It is performed on a blood sample taken from a vein in the arm. It is necessary to undergo a fasting blood sample for at least 12 hours, after a light meal, in fact if the calorie intake is high also the triglyceride level increases (drinking water is allowed). Furthermore, alcohol should not be consumed in the 24 hours prior to the examination and not you should smoke or exercise in the two hours prior to the blood draw.

The results of the exam

The results of the exam

In general, desirable levels of lipids help keep the heart healthy and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. With regard to the examination of triglyceridemia, the values ​​are classified as follows:

Adults

  • desirable value: less than 150 mg / dL (1.7 mmol / L)
  • value at the limits of the norm: between 150 and 199 mg / dl (1.7-2.2 mmol / L)
  • high value: between 200 and 499 mg / dl (2.3-5.6 mmol / L)
  • very high value: greater than 500 mg / dL (5.6 mmol / L)

Amounts of triglycerides in the blood (triglyceridaemia) above normal values ​​considerably increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases (angina, myocardial infarction, arteriosclerosis).

Boys

It is the attending physician who evaluates the values ​​in younger ages. In principle, under the age of 18 we have:

  • desirable value: less than 90 mg / dL (1.02 mmol / L)
  • value at the limits of the norm: between 90-129 mg / dl (1.02-1.46 mmol / L)
  • high value: equal to or greater than 130 mg / dL (1.47 mmol / L)

Note: The values ​​listed above refer to triglyceridemia measured fasting for at least 12 hours.

In the presence of very high triglyceridemia values ​​(greater than 1000 mg / dl, equal to 11.30 mmol / L) there is a risk, in children and adults, of pancreatitis. To avoid this, it is necessary to intervene quickly with a treatment that brings the level of triglycerides back to normal.

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